NY State Legislature—Any Hope for End-of-Session Action?—The state legislature is scheduled to adjourn on June 20, and several important environmental bills are still pending, most awaiting State Senate action. As NYers know, there is usually a last-minute flurry of activity at the end of the session, where any significant progress comes about. At times, the
legislature has literally stopped their clock to extend the deadline
So it is crucial that legislators hear from their constituents at the end of the session; it is the time when your opinions and words are most likely to have an impact. At the top of the list are two bills dealing with fracking. One (A.1046/S.674) would close the hazardous waste loophole that allows waste produced by fracking and other oil and gas drilling to avoid the rules for generation, transportation, treatment, storage, and disposal that apply to all other industries. This sweetheart deal for drillers exposes our environment and the public to the recognized threats of these dangerous materials. The second (A.5424/S.04236-A) puts a 2 year moratorium on fracking or until a credible and public study of the human health impacts of fracking is complete. This
legislation has passed the Assembly, but is languishing in the Senate and needs our attention to push for a vote.
Another timely and important energy issue is the Global Warming Pollution & Control Act (A.6327/S.735). This plan would set greenhouse gas emissions limits from all sources in New York State. These limits could not be greater than the level of statewide emissions in 1990 and lower limits would be mandated
incrementally, with a cap of 80% below the 1990 levels as of 2050. There is much hand-wringing about ‘what can we do’ when it comes to global warming. Here is a concrete and measurable action New York can take.
Another measure to help with reducing carbon emissions is the New York Solar Bill (A.5060/S.2522). The Solar Bill will establish a stable and predictable incentive program through 2023. The creation of a robust, long-term solar initiative will provide market-certainty which manufacturers, developers, and
installers need to invest in New York State. Our state is lagging behind others in promoting solar energy, and losing not only the environmental benefits, but also the cost-savings and clean jobs that this industry provides.
What you can do—Contact your legislators—particularly your state senator—before the end of the session, and tell them you expect action on these bills. Let them know that not bringing this legislation to the floor for a vote is an abdication of their responsibilities, and that all these measures are important to you and your community. Do not hesitate to call their Albany offices and ask to speak with them directly—you are a constituent!
Information on who your legislators are and how to get in touch can be found HERE.